Being a handstand nerd, I get a lot of questions about handstands. So, I’m going to start a series of blogs about learning to handstand. Tip #1 and BY FAR the most important tip in becoming a successful hand stander in my experience:
GET AWAY FROM THE WALL AND LEARN HOW TO FALL!
It’s about fear. If every time you do a handstand you are scared of falling, there will always be something to resist and push away (fear). Which means you’re not going for it completely. Even if you can go into handstand and “not fall”, you’re always scared of falling, so you’ll never go far enough to fall over. You may make progress, but it will slower because you’re facing resistance. If you are someone who is scared of falling, imagine not being scared. Imagine how much FUN hand standing would be. Imagine how much more practice you’d get in class.
Steps to get away from the wall:
- 1. Learn how to cartwheel. They start bent, messy and floppy. That’s how it works! Then they get more stretched out. I do one of each, both sides, in the video: Learning to Cartwheel
- 2. Cartwheel out of handstand. This is how you fall out of your handstand. Notice the progression from messy cartwheel to regular cartwheel to cartwheeling out of handstand. The difference between a cartwheel and cartwheeling out of handstand is that in a cartwheel, you place one hand on the ground closer to you and then the next hand comes down afterwards, farther away. Cartwheeling out of handstand, you place both hands down at the same time in front of you for handstand, but when you kick up, kick up with (a little) too much gusto so you go over.
If you have a history of being scared of falling, I would suggest going to an open gym at a local gym club and finding one of their soft mats so that if you crash hard, it’s still soft. You WILL figure it out, but it will take a number of tries, so expect to tumble. Alternatively, it would be good idea to pay for a private lesson at this point, just to get you through your fear and comfortable with falling. See this video of Cartwheeling out of Handstand.
- 3. Falling into wheel is an option, but you don’t want it to be your only one, and you don’t need it at all if it doesn’t come easily to you. You can’t fall into wheel once you’re working crow press or one-handed handstand, and as someone who used to be able to fall into wheel but can no longer due to injury, based on experience, you want more than this one option.